Assisted Dying Bill could help families in England and Wales

A national newspaper has joined the call to help implement a proposed law enabling terminally  ill people to choose how they die.

The Sunday Times is backing a private member’s bill which will legalise assisted dying in England and Wales. The Bill is being introduced by Baroness Meacher and has it’s first reading tomorrow (Wednesday 26th May 2021)

There is always lots of talk around assisted dying, with many people bringing the comparison that we don’t let our beloved pets suffer so why can we not provide the same care to our human loved ones. It’s this “intolerable suffering” that Baroness Meacher wants to stop.

The British public support the thought of assisted dying, with a poll conducted in 2019 revealing that almost 85% would support the right to assisted dying.

The Bill is proposing to legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in their final six months of life. Two independent doctors and a High Court Judge would have to assess each request, which is granted would enable a patient to die how they wish, as and when they choose.

If the Bill is successful the UK would follow the lead of other countries including: Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Canada, Luxembourg and others.

This isn’t the first time, a peer has submitted a private member’s bill in relation to assisted dying. Six year’s ago in 2015 Parliament rejected the bill put forward by Lord Falconer of Thoroton. In comparison Baroness Meacher’s proposal is said to be “modest in its scope” but could improve “the ability of all of us to lead happier lieves in the knowledge that we will have some control over how we die and that we can die with dignity surrounded by our family.”

Baroness Meacher said:

“Here the current law thwarts open discussion between dying people, their doctors, friends and family.

“We all know we will die. The ‘last resort’ options open to us are running the risk of suffering at the end of life, possibly from pain, wounds, helplessness or indignity. Or else our choices are few and unpleasant: sedation, starving to death, or travelling to Switzerland.”

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said our support was “a watershed moment”.

She added:

“This is the next great liberal reform, granting us rights over our own deaths just as we have the right to our own bodies and the right to marry the person we love.”

1 Comment

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    I wrote my dissertation on this topic in 1988. My tutor indicated that the correct answer was probably that euthanasia ought to be permitted by law. But the more I researched this the more I disagreed. Putting aside the opportunity for adult kids to be able to subtlety manipulate their relative, for whatever reason, into agreeing that they wish to die. What about this common occurrence, an elderly person is struggling, they may be quite depressed some days but they have a better day the next day. They have their spouse and a number of well meaning adult children. Now imagine that the children keeping saying to their parents oh don’t let him/her suffer any longer. They then persuade their mother that it’s a good idea to bring forward the death of their father. How is that mother then going to feel. It’s bad enough trying to determine when to allow a spouse with dementia or the after affects of a serious stroke go into a care home. This decision about the ending of a life is a lot more to expect families to have to cope with. It will tear families apart and leave people with huge amounts of guilt. It’s a decision that families should not have to deal with. And don’t forget that not all spouses agree with their loved one that its time to end their life. After the death of a love one there is much reflection, people have to live with the consequences.

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